How to up your chances of getting hired

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Despite the economic downturn, it's not impossible to land the job of your dreams. Find out what industries are expected to thrive and how to up your chances of getting hired.

you're hoping to quit your job this year and get a fresh start elsewhere, what you've been reading in the news isn't what you want to hear.

The economy is expected to grow between 1 and 3 per cent in 2017, but economists foresee a downward adjustment of the figure due to external factors such as political uncertainty and an intensifying anti-globalisation stance.

Whether a recession is on the cards, no one can say. Still, career experts say it's not all gloom and doom if you're looking to make a career switch.

The good news: Not all industries will be affected

Despite the economic downturn, some industries are likely to remain unaffected and others may even thrive, says Julia Ng, senior executive coach at Executive Coach International.

She's talking about those whose services people and companies need,regardless of the economic situation. Think the healthcare, education, accounting, military, digital marketing and property management industries.

And that pool is set to get bigger, now that 23 industries - such as retail, logistics and security, to name a few - are earmarked by the government for further development.

Under its S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme, roadmaps will be created to help these industries grow and become more competitive.

Companies will benefit from this, but more importantly, workers can expect new and redesigned jobs, with better wages and training opportunities.

Knowing what jobs are out there - and deciding what you want to do - is the first step. The next: increase your chances of landing that coveted position. Paul Heng, executive coach and founder of Next Career Consulting Group, Asia, shares his tips:

1. Start a job search "campaign".

You have to have a strategy, something that is proactive, definitive and structured (don't just wait for job ads to be placed!).

Make a list of the companies you want to work for, find out who you can contact, tailor your applications to suit the different companies and, most importantly, follow up after you've sent in an application or had an interview.

Send your contacts thank-you e-mails, and get in touch with them at a later stage to check for updates on the position.

2. Go the extra mile.

Do what the competition would not think of doing or cannot be bothered to do. For example, network as much as you can to help build your professional connections and send customised Linkedin invitations to potential hiring managers.

3. Don't lose confidence in yourself.

Don't let rejection letters- or the lack of callbacks - stop you from keeping up the job hunt. Stay focused and, when you're not busy sending out job applications, do things that make you feel good about yourself.

Busted: Myths about looking for work in an economic downturn

As you search, it's easy to lose hope and believe what others tell you about finding a job in a weak economy.

Despite the negative economic outlook, remember that jobs are still out there, your skills are still in demand and employers are still willing to pay you what you deserve. Here's what our experts have to say about fi ve common myths:

"No one is hiring."

Some companies may have implemented a hiring freeze, but that's not true across the board, so don't stop sending out your resume.

Paul says: "Whatever the state of the economy, you still need to look for work, right? So forget about those factors you have no influence over or can't change, and keep searching."

"You need to settle for less pay."

Companies are willing to invest in top talent, says Julia. And telling yourself that asking for less pay will increase your chances of hire may actually raise questions about your confidence in your worth.

It's okay to stick to the market rate, and there are a few ways to find this out.

Visit the Ministry of Manpower's website, which has benchmarking tools to give you a sense of industry norms, or check out job portals and look for work that's similar to what you're gunning for. Some listings will indicate salary offers, and that gives you a good starting point.

"Contract jobs are dead-end jobs."

Not necessarily. When the economy recovers or a full-time position for the role you took on opens up,the company is more likely to hire you because they've come to know you and your work - provided you did a great job, of course. So make the most of that temp job and treat it as if it was permanent, Julia says.

"You should take any job that comes along."

Some people will tell you that you should be grateful that at least someone is willing to hire you. But it's important to exercise some care in what you're choosing to commit to.

"If you don't see aspects of a job contributing to your growth or the job doesn't align with your values, don't settle; keep looking for something that does," Julia advises.

"Wait for companies to call you because in this economic climate, you can't be aggressive."

Being passive gets you nowhere. Julia says to actively approach people who work in companies you can see yourself being part of. You never know, they may be able to connect you to someone you can speak with about a job or, better yet, who has the power to hire you.

BE A CAREER COACH

You may not have thought it, but there could be a growing demand for those who help others plan and manage their careers, as well as counsel those who have lost their jobs. "People who are out of work will need emotional support and help with looking for a new job," says Paul.

"There will also be people looking to switch careers or leave the corporate world entirely." So if you're willing to pick up some new skills - for example, getting some training in career coaching - you just might find a whole new set of opportunities opening up for you.

This article first appeared in the 06 2017 issue of Her World.

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